Asian tastes

Interview: How flavours of Asia differ between markets

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags New zealand

Interview: How flavours of Asia differ between markets
FoodNavigator-Asia reported this week that New Zealand’s Taura Natural Ingredients is getting ready to launch a new range of concentrated fruit pieces for bakery and food service operators in Asia.

One of the BakeFruit range’s USPs is, Taura claims, its formulation that is specific for the local market. This difference in Asian tastes has always intrigued us, so we spoke to Bartolo Zame (pictured), Taura’s head of sales for the Asia-Pacific region, for more information.

Why did you choose Taiwan to debut BakeFruit? 

Taiwan has a sophisticated bakery market, and URC fruit pieces provide a unique functional advantage in bakery applications. Our research showed that within the Taiwanese market, there is strong growth in demand for food that is believed to contribute to good health. URC products have a high fruit content, and therefore have an inherent health halo that appeals to consumers. 

In addition, New Zealand continues to enjoy a positive image in Taiwan, therefore food and beverage products manufactured in NZ have a reputation for quality and safety, and further benefit from the country’s favourable tourist reputation. Introducing URC BakeFruit into the Taiwanese market first enables Taura to refine and adapt a product that is intended to be launched into other Asian countries. 

Are Taiwanese tastes really different to those of, say, New Zealand when it comes to developing your products? Is the "to appeal to local tastes" line in reality more for PR? 

Taura puts great emphasis on understanding and identifying flavours that match the local palate. This process involves our NPD team listening to and working closely with in-market evaluators, in the creation of products that are suitable, and the tweaking of flavours and formulations until we get it right. 

Taura sales and NPD representatives also conduct regular market visits to key customers, prospective customers, trade shows and retail outlets across Asia, completing regional assessments and market validation to ensure our product offering is relevant.

If tastes are so different, how do you convince the market that a newcomer from distant lands has sufficient knowledge of local tastes compared to established domestic companies?

Taura has a number of existing distributor relationships that have been operational for over 15 years, which means key channels have been established in several Asian markets. We work closely with these distributors to deliver all the benefits of our unique and high quality URC fruit pieces, while ensuring the products are suitable for the target markets, and meet compliance and regulatory requirements.

Do you anticipate the formulation of your products in Taiwan will differ from those for other Asian markets once they open up? 

There is no “one Asia” approach.Taura appreciates thatAsia is geographically vast and highly diverse, and markets there are highly dynamic. There are major social, cultural, language and economic differences between and within countries. 

This means that Taura cannot adopt a one-size-fits-all approach—each country requires its own due diligence. Commercial customers’ requirements also vary across Asia with the level of economic development, the pace of industry growth and the commercial and regulatory context.

  • Taura Natural Ingredients will be exhibiting at the Taipei International Bakery Show from March 28.

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